Into the wild

It’s getting warmer outside which means it’s time to take a road trip to clear your mind and enjoy the outdoor weather. Visiting state, national and metro parks is a great idea if you’re looking to embark on a scenic adventure. There are tons of parks that are just a few hours away, so fill up your gas tank and head on out for a quick getaway. Make sure to experience at least one of these parks and enjoy the view. EDEN PARK is located in Cincinnati on the hills of Mt. Adams. Eden Park is the home of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Academy, Playhouse in the Park and Murray Seasongood Pavilion. It is also the home to the major tourist attraction Krohn Conservatory. The greenhouse features various plants from around the world, which are exhibited in simulated natural settings. The park also has a beautiful gazebo surrounded by exotic flowers, plants and stone statues. Just down the path is Mirror Lake which includes a fountain shooting water 60 feet up into the air. The location also includes an old stone quarry, many gardens, historic statues and towers, hiking and picnicking. OAK OPENINGS PRESERVE METROPARK‘ is located in Perrysburg just southwest of Toledo. Blue butterflies, sparrows, orchids, sand and cactus surround the natural, fascinating park. It is home to 180 rare species and is paradise to those that inhabit the area. The park offers more than 50 miles of trails where visitors can bike, jog, run or hike. Oak Openings also hosts the Beuhner Center, which is a unique, interactive nature center featuring displays designed to illustrate the extravagant wildlife that Oak Openings has to offer. All of these parks are incredibly scenic and provide visitors with a guaranteed good time. They offer a great variety for every interest and age and present visitors with a historic glimpse into the past. JOHN BRYAN STATE PARK is located east of Dayton and south of Springfield. There are 10 electric sites for $16-$20 dollars per night and 50 non-electric sites for $14-$18 per night. Day lodging is available throughout the year and is equipped with two fireplaces, restroom facilities, a large screened-in porch and a kitchen with a stove and refrigerator. The resort offers picnic tables, fire rings, bathrooms, pet camping, fishing, hunting, caving, four picnic areas, shelter houses, tables and grills. The park includes nine trails, rock climbing and rappelling areas. John Bryan also offers an exciting canoeing adventure where boaters float down the twisty river and encounter steep rock cliffs, towering sycamores and many historic sites along the way. HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK is located just southeast of Columbus. The park offers more than enough to do including fishing, hiking, picnicking, rock climbing and lodging. Hocking Hills also offers the exciting adventure of caving. Evidence on the rocks show that they have been there for over 7,000 years, and visitors are allowed the rare opportunity to explore the depths of these historic caves. Cottages, cabins and campsites are also provided along with a restaurant, TV lounge, game room, snack bar and an outdoor swimming pool. CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK is the only national park in Ohio. It is surrounded by Cleveland and Akron although it seems like it is worlds away. It has steep valley walls and ravines and covers 33,000 acres along the banks of the Cuyahoga River providing both recreation and solitude for residents and visitors. The park offers riverboat excursions, biking, hiking and canal trails and numerous village tours. The park includes sandstone ledges, rolling hills, river gorges and 70 waterfalls. The most notable waterfall is Brandywine Falls which is 60 feet tall and is the highlight of Cuyahoga Valley. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife such as beaver, deer and dozens of bird species. These animals are surrounded by a great array of plant life and a rich cultural legacy.